Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Different Type of Calling

I've been thinking about how HSPs and empaths feel different or out of place in many environments, especially in professional or academic ones. Perhaps there are a multitude of reasons for this: overstimulation, a sense of wanting to change the way things are for the better, but not knowing exactly how yet, being more passionate about the profound and becoming frustrated when others just "don't get it," and wanting something more than self-elation and outward success just for the sake of a "pat on the back" from your peers.

One of my former bosses at that so-called company used to say "Imitation is the highest form of flattery." But I disagreed. I thought that almost everyone walked around like robots there and didn't think for themselves because they would rather make money for the sake of making money, and nothing else.

Despite my persistent ability to excel in the world of academia, often by producing mass amounts of "bullcrap" that makes sense somehow (yes, some of my former profs and mentors might disagree), I've suddenly realized that I'm not going to feel comfortable in my latest degree program because my ambitions for myself and my writing projects are different. Instead of hearing "Imitation is the highest form of flattery" the line is "Great writers steal." For some reason, lines like that still make me cringe. Not because I think it is wrong to borrow a technique or two (as long as you make them your own somehow), but because at the core of my being I do not want to be a robot. I want to think for myself. It's one of the main reasons why I left that so-called company.

I want to follow through with that ability that is very difficult to do--the ability to listen to one's own inner voice despite the noise of everyone else's opinions and one's own anxieties. I already learned that lesson. I don't want to repeat the consequences for not doing so in this new environment.

I want to create something that lives beyond the page and makes an audience feel. I want to inspire and create something that speaks to a profound experience that can connect an audience to something that is both inside and outside of their own selves. I don't understand why submitting to literary journals, contests, and AWP awards are more important than what I believe the purpose of art is--to inspire humanity to keep living, despite the darkness that exists in the human condition.

I know that I am not in this for a career. I am in this to make a difference somehow. To make someone else's journey in life easier. I know that I cannot isolate my work, but that I also need to feel like it is ready before I put it out there. And so I do not rush, nor do I follow all the "advice" I am given, nor do I strive to submit something I believe is passionless in order to please or be understood by my peers.

Release is realizing that it doesn't matter what the ending is and that what is, is everything. A friend of mine echoed to me last night what I have been feeling for awhile. "You don't need the program to do what you want to do." And I think that's true. I don't.

But sometimes we wonder if we're not where we are because something else needs us. Sometimes we are faced with making sacrifices and changes that we'd rather not make because we are the ones who "get it." Even if what we say, what we do, and what we produce are not fully realized until we have already disappeared.


  1. H. Elizabeth, I understand your feelings completely. I just watched this video, now posted on my FB page, and think you and your other followers might gain insights from it. It's in total accord with my own research and I highly recommend it to all for a basic understanding of how our minds work at the interface of self and world. It is truly revelatory and so well put together visually as well as verbally. You can skip the initial ad:



  2. I strongly connect to what you're sharing here in regards to art, to academia (i've been fortunate in paving my way as an autodidact), and in terms of our place in the 'big picture'. (i'm an hsp) Thank you..

  3. Thank you Carole and Marjolaine. Good to know that what I'm writing is making a difference somehow. =)